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Ex-Mich. Nonprofit Official Charged

May 6, 2003

LANSING, Mich. (AP) _ The former office manager of Tobacco Free Michigan was charged with embezzling $50,000 from the nonprofit group.

Rebecca Chapman, 32, is the latest of a string of residents charged in recent months with embezzling money from Lansing-area agencies.

Chapman was charged Monday in Lansing District Court with embezzlement, forgery and other felony counts. She is free on $50,000 bond. Her lawyer, James Bliss, declined to comment, saying he was studying the allegations.

Chapman worked at Tobacco Free Michigan as an office manager and was in charge of bookkeeping. Police accuse her of writing checks to herself out of the organization’s account between Jan. 29, 2002, and April 3.

``It’s horrible,″ said Carole Keefe, chairwoman of the group’s board of directors. ``We have a very close working relationship and those relationships are built on trust.″ She said Chapman was fired April 14 and the organization changed its cash-control procedures.

Seven other people have been charged in recent months with embezzling money from various agencies. The amounts range from $2,000 from Shiawassee County United Way to $1.9 million from Capital Area United Way.

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